Some residents of northern Mexico, influenced by their neighbor the United States, began to observe a Mother's Day holiday in the early part of the 20th century. However, it took an editorial in a Mexico City newspaper, combined with a widespread media campaign and support from the Catholic Church, to bring the observance into full flower.
By the 1920s, some people in Mexico were becoming concerned that women were being diverted from what many saw as their primary role -- childbearing. Information on contraception was becoming more accessible, and women were beginning to assert their rights in politics and the professional world. In an effort to promote motherhood, the Mexican women's magazine, El Hogar, joined forces with La Asociation de las Damas Catolicas (the Association of Catholic Ladies) to oppose what they saw as a threat to traditional values. Rafael Alducin, editor of the Mexico City newspaper El Excelsior, joined the fight and organized the first official celebration of Mother's Day in Mexico on May 10, 1922.
Alducin wrote and published an editorial that affirmed the ties between motherhood and Mexico's traditional values. Soon, the celebration began to take on religious connotations. The Archbishop of Mexico gave his official sanction to the holiday, and another supporter publically declared that "the family is a sacred social unit." Soon, images of the Madonna and Child adorned Mother's Day cards and posters. This was especially significant, because Mexico's patron is the Lady of Guadalupe, so the holiday automatically gained religious and patriotic meaning.
Mother's Day gained almost immediate acceptance in Mexico. El Hogar announced a beautiful baby photo contest in conjunction with the first Mother's Day, and it was wildly successful. The holiday has grown in acceptance, and now almost every Mexican family celebrates.
And just how do Mexican children honor their Moms on La Dia de la Madre? Keep reading to find out what they do to tell her she's special.
Mother's Day Festivities in Mexico
The celebration of Mother's Day in Mexico is very much as it is in the United States. Children present their mothers with gifts of candy, cards or flowers, and children who can't be home on Mother's Day often will telephone Mom to let her know that she's loved. Unlike in the United States, where Mother's Day is always the second Sunday in May, Mother's Day in Mexico is on a fixed date -- May 10 -- regardless of the day of the week.
In many families, the children present a little program for their mother, singing songs and perhaps offering a brief skit. Sometimes, schools sponsor programs for the mothers of the students, especially if May 10 falls on a school day. The children may dance, tell jokes and sing for the entertainment of their maternal audience.
Just as in the United States, Mother's Day lunch or dinner at a restaurant is common. Mexicans know to make reservations many weeks ahead of time, as the restaurants will be crowded on May 10. Other families bring food to their mother's home and enjoy a meal together there. Most families try to put aside any disagreements for the day.
The sound of music begins Mother's Day in some Mexican cities, where it's the custom to go to her house early in the morning and awaken her with song. Those who can afford it hire trios or mariachi bands to accompany them, but Mama equally welcomes children who can't afford a band and have to provide the musical awakening themselves. Many families then go to a special mass, followed by a community breakfast.
For lots more information on the origin of other major holidays, see the links on the next page (after calling your mother).
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Blum, Ann S. "Domestic Economies: Family, Work, and Welfare in Mexico City, 1884-1943." University of Nebraska Press. 2010.
- Mother's Day Central. "Mother's Day History." (March 10, 2010) http://www.mothersdaycentral.com/about-mothersday/history/
- Mother's Day Celebration. "Mother's Day in Mexico." (March 10, 2010) http://www.mothersdaycelebration.com/mothers-day-mexico.html
- Time. "Mexico: Mother's Day." May 18, 1943. (March 10, 2010) http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,849830,00.html
- Topics Online. "Mother's Day in Mexico." (March 11, 2010) http://www.topics-mag.com/internatl/holidays/mexico/mothers_day.htm
- Yucatan Living. "Merida Events: Mother's Day and Yucatones." (March 10, 2010) http://www.yucatanliving.com/events/merida-events-mothers-day-yucatones.htm